As expected, HB-15, otherwise known as the Sonogram Bill, passed the House on second reading tonight by a vote of 103 – 42. It was a long and contenuous evening, with House Democrats filing frivolous amendments that had zero chance of passing, such as Amendment 17 by Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso) that would have forced men to have vasectomiies, which prompted a rash of jokes on the floor of the House.
Such respect for human life.
Although the votes generally played out along party lines, within minutes after the final vote, Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Bellaire) sent out a press release stating that the bill was nothing short of government intrusion into health care:
Press Release from Texas House District 134 Representative Sarah Davis
Regarding: The Sonogram Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2011
Austin – Abortion is a horrible way to end a pregnancy, and although I have a deep respect for life, I was unable to support “The Sonogram Bill,” today in the Texas House of Representatives. To me, the issue at stake was not about abortion, but about the role of government in our personal lives. I was compelled to seek office following the passage of “ObamaCare,” as I am vehemently against the government involving itself in our healthcare decisions. The Sonogram Bill does just that—government interference with the doctor-patient relationship. Although I fully support informed consent, I do not support the Legislature practicing medicine. Republicans have been united against the expanding role of government, and I remain true to that principle.
Texas faces many challenges this legislative session, and in a time when the cry from the electorate is so clearly against bigger government, it is inconsistent with my conservative principles to support legislation that so clearly paves the way for future state mandates on the practice of medicine.
My vote was not an easy one to make, as I am very sensitive to those who work so valiantly for the sake of preserving life. However, in light of my commitment to work against the expanding role of government and my commitment to protect the doctor-patient relationship from government interference, I simply could not support “The Sonogram Bill.”
After following Rep. Davis throughout the 2010 primary and general elections, this is not surprising, although the speed and tone of the release is. I didn’t watch the entire debate (there were 28 or so amendments) but in the time I dd watch it, I never saw Rep. Davis step up the mic and challenge the issue. Perhaps she did and I missed it – please let me know if you saw her. I have to hope that if this issue was so important to her that she had a press release ready within minutes of the vote, she would have stood up and fought for her position, even knowing the it would fail. If this after the fact press release is her entire fight, it doesn’t bode well for her ability to pass legislation, or fight it, in the future.
I disagree with Rep. Davis – this bill isn’t government intrusion into health care. Sonograms are already the standard medical practice, thus adding no cost. Testimony during the hearing showed that many doctors do not allow the patient to see the images resulting from the sonogram.
Kudos to Kyleen Wright and the Texans for Life Coalition for their hard work in getting this bill passed – yes, I know that a third reading is required but the second reading is the most important.